City debates access to development
The go-ahead on a major annexation of land into Tonganoxie sputtered last week.
The 195-lot Jackson Heights subdivision would extend north from Stone Creek and Urban Hess developments to Parallel Road and Leavenworth County Road 5. Developers hope to annex the land into the city.
Discussion during last week's city council meeting centered on the entrance to the development.
Developer Jack Willis wants an entrance into Jackson Heights from Parallel Road, and he's interested in the city taking on some of the road costs.
The council, however, opted to table the annexation to allow for more discussion on the subject. Concerns, such as proximity to a fire station, came into play, council members said.
Mayor John Franiuk, along with council member Pat Albert, a city firefighter, discussed the possibility of a rural firehouse near the development.
"We have a lot of things we need to negotiate," Franiuk said. "We need to get our wish list in order. It's pretty close to Christmas."
Willis said he had no problem with building an entrance on County Road 5, but Franiuk said it wouldn't be in the city's best interest to have another access road along the already-busy county road.
"I'm not crazy about them coming off of Five," Franiuk said.
But Franiuk has numerous concerns about constructing an entrance off Parallel: The current road is gravel and is too narrow; proper lighting isn't available; and the drainage system would need to be revamped. Willis and the council discussed upgrading the road surface with chip-and-seal, which usually must be updated every few years.
And the council didn't want to face a repeat of problems with road developments it endured along the South Park development."In regard to Sandusky, all we've heard is complaints," City Administrator Shane Krull said about Sandusky Drive, which is the southern border of South Park residential development.
Willis was concerned with the chip-and-seal method for the road.
"The pencils, the numbers, I have no qualms with it, but right now it just doesn't make sense," Willis said. "I'm sorry. Especially when we're going back to chip and seal."
The council discussed a benefit district in which area homeowners could pay a portion of the costs for the road work. Willis, however, wasn't in favor of that because of the burden for owners.
"Most of them can't afford to buy the house in the first place," Willis said. "They're going be living paycheck to paycheck."
Franiuk would like to resolve the issue soon.
"It's a big engine," Franiuk said. "I don't want it to be slowed down."
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